ANTOINE NEUFMARS
WORDS
COVER IMAGE

Ne dites pas non, vous avez souri – Intw Antoine Neufmars

Visual and performing artist based in Brussels. Always searching for beauty. “Eyes. They never lie, chico.” Scarface

He is currently exhibiting his latest photographic series Cose Naturale at Melissa Ansel gallery. From September 2020, he will present a new version of his documentary portrait series GEN Z at BOZAR-The Center of Fine Art, Brussels.

ANNA MEÏ PORTRAYED BY ANTOINE NEUFMARS

I was born in Provence. I grew up in a fantasy-like scenario: surrounded by lavender fields, a small chain of dry thorny mountains, filled with olive bouquets, pine trees, small cypresses, yellow stones, and a mighty river separating the lands. It’s a highly visual and olfactive region. At 17, I moved to Paris after I got scouted by a modeling and talent agency.  I experienced another sort of spectacular beauty in this city. I currently reside in Brussels, the capital of Europe. I love living here. It’s a very diverse city, ethnically speaking. It’s a bit of a Tower of Babel; it has a punk edge, it’s against any form of standardization. It’s a raw gem. You can’t sum up Brussels in a tweet, really J I live in Sint Katelijn, the old part of the city, also known to be the Flemish-speaking area. But, you never know what the future holds. You might find me in an isolated Greek cove next year. People. That is what gets me high! From extraordinary faces I see in the streets, to personal stories from close friends or strangers, it’s this intimate connection that boosts me every day. Also, I get easily stimulated just by looking at the way the city is constructed. It’s urbanism and its architecture; it says a lot about the culture and the people. I have been quite a globe trotter for years.

For a long time, I lived in Paris, Shanghai, Xiamen, Washington DC, New York, and I often go to Lisboa. It’s strange because there are some cities where I have traveled a few times, but it does feel like a part of me is still there. As if they’re part of my diary like Belgrade, Los Angeles or Madrid. When I look closely at these cities, they are all related to either some work experiences or very close relatives. I created my world map, my oh-so-personal city guide in each of these cities. It makes me feel like a local each time I visit. I learn something new every day as I do follow a lot of online classes or workshops, so it feels like I’m graduating all the time, haha ! Technically speaking, I mostly studied in Paris and Brussels. I spent some time in London for some specialization courses. It’s a long love affair I have with photography. A bit like Ross and Rachel in Friends, you know? My mum took me to this painting class every Wednesday afternoon, and I ended up following the course for six years. That’s where I started to form my artistic vision. There, I learned how to start from scratch, I learned discipline, how to frame, how to construct a color palette, how to translate a vision into constructed layers. There was also the family photo camera that unconsciously led me to what I do today.

ANNA MEÏ PORTRAYED BY ANTOINE NEUFMARS

I started to document my daily family life, birthday parties, our summer holidays by the Atlantic Ocean, and that’s where I first felt I had the power to stop the time machine and freeze this moment for the rest of my life, just by a click. But it’s only during my modeling years that I realized my interest in photography was beyond a simple hobby, and it could be an option for my professional path. It was the same moment that my dad gave me his analogic Minolta camera, the same camera I used as a child and told me: “it’s yours now.” I took it as a mystical sign sent by the Gods, and the next day, I was flying to Belgrade to start my first professional photo series. What inspires me? A ray of light in my living room, looking at someone dancing, walking on a beach, yellow tulips, singing, a good book, a cup of coffee, a shoulder to lean on. All these natural things inspire me. It feels odd today to look at my work. It is still very fresh and new to me to look at my photography portfolio and say, “oh man, good job.” I don’t take myself too seriously, you know.  When I look at it from a global perspective, I feel fulfilled as each work experience is related to a robust and intimate story. I would say that my work is a succession of life-changing encounters that have shaped personal chapters. It’s compelling.

I remember precisely when I first met Sir Paul McCartney. It was during his World Tour. I was hired to be his back up dancer for the Stade de France show, and a few minutes before entering on stage, I noticed McCartney was greeting every single member of his onstage and offstage crew to wish them good luck for the show. It was such a lesson of professionalism and humility. It never left my mind since then. And it was a lesson of punctuality too. The show was announced at 8 pm, and we started at 7.55 pm. My house is a mirror of how I feel. Right now, it’s open, luminous, and still. Depending on the day, it can be a very different mood. I love design and furniture. Brussels is the best place in Europe to shop for vintage and art deco.  It’s a mix and match of Armenian carpets, 80’s Italian leather sofas, 60’s Formica chairs, and a large marble kitchen to throw gustatory orgies. It’s accented with body sculptures, Amazonian green plants, photographs, books, and relics. My house is still not like my Pinterest house, but it’s getting there. I am planning to change the house very soon, so it’s all going to be very different, a new version of me. I can’t wait.  If you believe in Leonardo da Vinci’s theories, beauty resides in perfect symmetry, an ideal architecture. For me, behind this architecture, there is consciousness. There is an identity. There is an attitude. That’s beauty for me. Vulnerability is beautiful too.

My favourite sentence: “Eyes. They never lie, chico.” it’s from Scarface. It’s bloody true.

AESOP

During the shooting Antoine used on Anna-Meï the Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser, The fabulous face oil  and the Elemental Facial Barrier Cream by Aesop.

Aesop was founded in Melbourne in 1987. Today offers its formulations in stores all over the world. In 2004, in a semi-hidden corner of the harbor suburb of St Kilda, in Melbourne, Aesop welcomed the first customers. That space, which previously housed only a narrow access ramp to an underground car park, became the progenitor of a series of architecturally ambitious undertakings. Aesop maintains an independent approach to research and development of products. The team of chemists carries out their work at the headquarters, in a custom-built functional laboratory, where product ideas are developed, new mixtures studied and new prototypes developed. Ingredients are from well-known suppliers in the world, are processed with great scientific knowledge and latest generation technology.

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